There are growing calls for the Tokyo Olympics to cancelled or at the very least postponed and these calls must be heeded. According to a survey, 83 per cent of the Japanese themselves do not want the Games to go ahead in these pandemic times.
Not only that, the chairman of the Japan Doctors Union, Naoto Ueyama, has also expressed opposition to holding the Olympics. Japan’s best known daily -- The Asahi Shimbun (one of the Games’ sponsors) -- in an editorial has called for the cancellation of the Games.
Apart from the 15,000 athletes competing, the Japanese expect close to 90,000 officials, support staff and media personnel visiting their country, which could put the health and lives of the local people at grave risk.
There is also growing anger in Japan at the IOC which has so far adamantly insisted for the Games to go ahead. IOC’s call for “sacrifices” to be made for the conduct of the Games has particularly riled the Japanese. Covid has claimed the lives of around 12,000 and infected more than 7 lakh in Japan. In the current wave its healthcare sector is reported to be under severe stress. Also Japan’s vaccination drive has floundered with just 4 per cent of its population being vaccinated so far, which is quite shocking for a G-7 nation.
The cancellation or even postponement would undoubtedly be a big blow for the athletes who have trained hard for the last five years. Sports such as cricket, football, tennis, basketball, etc have their respective leagues and events through the year. But for track and field athletes, swimmers, fencers, wrestlers, boxers, gymnasts and many others, the Olympics is their show piece event and their chance to write themselves into sporting history. But in these tragic pandemic times this bullet has to be bitten.